Righting the Historical Record: Highlighting the Significant Contributions of Black Psychologists in American Schools

Sharon Tettegah, Alison Cerezo, Terrance Wooten, De Leon L. Gray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The field of educational psychology, while closely aligned with several adjacent branches of psychology, focuses on teaching and learning processes in support of the development of students within K-16 environments and beyond. Similar to other fields, educational psychology has been historically dominated by theories and empirical studies developed and carried out by White scholars who presented racially and culturally biased ideologies that lacked Black perspectives. Couched within an Afrocentric and Critical Race Theory framework, the present article sets out to right the historical record by uplifting the voices of four prominent Black psychologists who played an important role in American schools and who have been largely ignored in the field of educational psychology. We review the works of Inez B. Prosser (1897–1934), A. Wade Boykin (1947–present), Barbara J. Robinson Shade (1933–present), and Asa Hilliard III–Baffour Amankwatia II (1933–2007). Each scholar has made significant impacts on American schools, ranging from pursuing innovative research topics and methodologies, providing expert testimony in landmark civil rights legislation, and leading college and university initiatives with generation-wide impacts on Black learners and communities. Based on the impact of the scholars highlighted in this article, we offer recommendations for the next steps in advancing the field toward a position of eradicating anti-Black racism and toward uplifting and centering the voices of Black learners.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)601-612
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Psychologist
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Afrocentrism
  • Black education
  • Black educational psychology
  • Black psychologists
  • critical race theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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